Yoga poses for depression #2

Yoga is a great way to clear out the garbage and clutter in your mind – old, stuck thought patterns that keep you in a rut and stop you from moving forward in life.

The physical practice and breathing helps get any stuck energy you might have start flowing again and the mental effort helps you build concentration, confidence and and trust in your own abilities.

Tree pose – Vrksasana – is a classic standing pose that teaches you presence, peace and balance. Just as a tree does, you need to root down into the earth through your feet to connect to the present moment. Allow your legs and body to be steady and strong, yet flexible – like a tree trunk.

As you begin try holding your hands in prayer near your heart, repeating a nurturing mantra in your mind such as – ‘I am constantly growing from every experience’.

As you feel stronger you can start to raise your arms like the branches of a tree, growing happily towards the light with every breath you take.

Set up:

  • From a standing position with your feet together

  • find a steady point in front of you at eye height to gently gaze at

  • Raise one foot to the inside of your standing leg

  • Press your lifted foot either to your calf or thigh, making sure you avoid any pressure on your knee joint

  • Firm the muscles of your standing leg and visualise sending roots down into the floor from the bottom of your foot to keep you steady

  • Engage your core and lift your chest proudly

  • If you’re feeling steady you might like to raise your arms above your head

  • Imagine that you are strong but flexible like the trunk and branches of a healthy tree

  • Hold this position for 5-10 calm, deep breaths and relax your face with a SMILE

  • Observe how you react both mentally and physically to the posture – is it hard to stay balanced? What in your life unsettles you and how do you react to situations that throw you off your natural balance? Can you bring a sense of ease to this pose to find the middle ground between rigidity and flexibility? How could you invite this balanced approach into your life?

To exit:

  • On an exhale breath, gently lower your arms to your chest, palms together

  • Replace your lifted foot to the floor

  • Reverse your feet and repeat on the second side for the same amount of breaths

  • Repeat 1-3 times.

Options:

  • If you find it hard to balance you can begin by just pivoting on your toes and placing your heel agaist your ankle, like a kick-stand on a bike

  • You could also practice with your back close to a wall so that there’s support there if you need it

  • Keep hands on your hips if balance is a challenge

  • If you’re looking for a stronger option you can begin by shifting your gaze upward between your hands.

  • If this feels easy, try lifting onto just the ball of your standing foot!

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